Are you disabled and unable to work? Or have you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and been denied? In a study conducted by the Social Security Administration, 25% of workers will become disabled at some point during his or her lifetime. This page is for those who want to maximize their chances of winning from the beginning or, if you have already been denied, to increase your chance of being approved on appeal.
Our Pensacola Social Security Disability lawyer, Nick Ortiz, is a Board-Certified Social Security Disability Lawyer and has helped thousands of individuals receive Social Security Disability benefits. He has been practicing law since 2001 with a focus on representing disabled workers as of 2005. If you are having trouble filing an application or need to appeal a denied claim for Social Security Disability benefits, then contact our Pensacola Social Security Disability lawyer today.
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be an extremely difficult process due to the length of time it takes for Social Security to decide on the claim and the high chance of being denied. It is so frustrating to go through the lengthy application process and be denied that approximately four out of five claimants whose initial claims are denied do not file an appeal. Statistically, most Social Security Disability claims will be denied the first time, but you should not give up.
Get Help from a Board-Certified Social Security Attorney in Pensacola, FL
If you are ready to hire an attorney, we will fight for the Social Security benefits that you deserve. We understand the medical requirements you must meet and how to get the information needed for a successful claim. We even prepare custom forms for your doctors to fill out in support of your claim. Whether you need help with an initial filing or the appeal process, our Social Security Disability attorney can help.
We offer a free consultation, and there are no fees unless you win. The average fee is 25% of the past-due benefits. We do not take a fee from any future benefits, so you will receive 100% of your monthly payment. We represent Social Security Disability claimants in Northwest Florida and across the country. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation with a Pensacola Social Security Disability attorney.
Nick Ortiz also offers Florida residents a free book on Social Security Disability claims. If you are not a Florida resident, you are eligible to receive a free e-book on Social Security Disability claims. You can claim your copy by clicking here. You can also check out our frequently asked questions on Social Security Disability.
Types of Social Security Benefits Claims We Handle
The Ortiz Law Firm and our Pensacola Social Security Disability Lawyer handle Social Security Disability Insurance benefit claims (also called SSD, SSDI, DI, DIB, or RSDI) and concurrent Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. We handle claims at the following stages of the evaluation process:
We do not handle claims at the Appeals Council or Federal District Court, but we will make every effort to refer you to a Social Security Disability attorney that does.
Some claimants at the federal court level will decide to file a new claim for benefits. If so, we can assist the claimant in filing a new disability claim.
Why Choose Ortiz Law Firm?
Social Security Disability is one of our primary practice areas and we have a variety of resources to help our clients through the process. We encourage you to browse our reviews and testimonials to see how we have been able to help claimants in the past.
I am so thankful that I chose The Ortiz Law Firm to handle my Social Security Disability case. The Ortiz team is first-rate. I really did feel like I had a team supporting me. From day one Tory Nelson guided me through the entire process. She explained things in a way that made me feel confident while going through the lengthy appeal process. She was always very responsive in providing me with thorough answers to my questions. Team Ortiz has put together an extremely valuable "Disability Academy." This online learning program is broken up into hundreds of bite-size, very focused, pieces of information which helped me learn the oftentimes very technical aspects of the disability process. I was easily able to identify which of the online videos applied to my situation so I could concentrate my efforts on those. Ms. Katherine Schwartz helped me so much in preparing for the actual hearing. With what I learned in the disability academy and what I learned in preparing with Ms. Schwartz, even though I was still very nervous prior to the hearing with the judge, I can honestly say I was very prepared. I didn't experience any surprises during the hearing with the Judge. Thank you, team Ortiz!
Nick and Sarah and Tory at Ortiz Law are THE best! They are thorough, professional, and go the extra mile for their clients! They helped me win a positive outcome after over 3 years of fighting to get my disability and at my hearing that was finally scheduled Nick was professional, knowledgeable, and not afraid to ask the government “experts” the hard questions to get the facts out! They work hard to gather all evidence/medical records, etc., to be ready to present the facts and dispute anything! They researched my conditions along with the causes and were able to explain to the hearing judge exactly why I should be awarded disability. Nick's videos on how to prepare for the hearings (and other aspects of understanding disability) were instrumental in my ability to understand and what to expect from this lengthy process and the hearings aspect. I was totally unprepared before watching them. Thank you Ortiz Law I couldn’t have gotten a fully favorable decision without your hard work, dedication, knowledge, and all the years of experience with the disability system and hearings /judges!
I can’t say enough good things about Mr. Ortiz and his team of professionals. They were dedicated to helping me win my Social Security Disability case. Through the entire process, they were there to answer any questions I had and made it so easy for me. I can’t thank them enough.
When I was denied my second appeal for disability, I had to find an attorney to represent me. When I went online, I found dozens and dozens of attorneys that specialize in disability. So I read many reviews, and I selected Nick Ortiz. Selecting Nick Ortiz's firm was one of the best choices I have ever made. Nick Ortiz's law firm has an excellent staff. Sarah (one of the staff) has over 10 years of professional experience in the legal field, and she could answer my questions and put me at ease when I called. Tory, the paralegal assigned to my claim, has over 20 years experience. She was very empathetic to my situation and did a great job calming me down and gathering the records from the nine doctors I am seeing. Tory and Sarah were always accessible and patient no matter what questions I had. Nick is a no-nonsense man. My conversation with him put my mind at ease. They also have online courses called the Disability Academy that address everything you need to know before the hearing with the ALJ (the Administrative Law Judge). The veteran staff is there to answer all of your questions and treat you with compassion. I asked Nick what he thought my chances were, and he replied, "I have looked at your case, and I am in it to win." And win, he did. I received full disability. I would highly recommend Nick Ortiz to represent you! The firm provides everything to help you prepare for your hearing.
My only regret is that this review is about seven years overdue. I rarely write reviews and did the firm a disservice by not submitting any reviews of the great service I received from the Ortiz Law Firm back in 2013. If I recall correctly, he was the only attorney with the firm then. He and his staff were very deserving of a positive review. Today I was reminded of the EXCELLENT service received from Nick Ortiz while looking for an attorney for my VA disability claim, and decided to write the belated review that I should have at the time.
Nick succeeded in getting my Social Security Disability claim approved the first time through. I wasn't getting very far in the initial filing of my claim for SSDI benefits, just spinning my wheels trying to navigate SSA's requirements and gathering the necessary records. My physical and mental health had me really stressed out, and I was overwhelmed with just getting by day-to-day. I met with Nick O for a free consultation. He impressed me with his ability to listen and understand my issues and with his track record dealing with the SSA. He had a very pleasant personality, and was easy to talk to. He accepted my case, and handled everything involving my claim.
About four to five months later, my claim was approved! No need to file an appeal or anything else. I was/am extremely pleased with the outcome. His fee was some of the best money I ever spent. He earned every penny of it and then some!
I would definitely recommend Nick Ortiz for any of his practice areas and have done so numerous times to friends and others dealing with the SSA.
In my personal opinion, Mr. Ortiz and his employees did a great job. The experience was 1st class. I was lost in the middle of a fight with social security and they carried me through. I thank God for this great team of professionals. I highly recommend them.
In addition to the support and guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer, clients of the Ortiz Law Firm also get free access to the Disability Academy.
With over 6 hours of video content, Disability Academy contains everything you could want to know about a Social Security Disability claim, from the initial claim process to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and the resources you need to get the benefits you deserve.
Want more information about the Disability Academy and how it can help with your Social Security Disability claim? You can watch attorney Nick Ortiz’s NO-COST, on-demand training webinar to maximize your chances of winning your Social Security claim by avoiding the most common mistakes that will destroy your claim.
Are you ready to strengthen your claim and learn more about the Disability Academy? Watch the free training webinar now.
Claiming Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Applying for Social Security Disability insurance benefits with or without an attorney advocating on your behalf can be a difficult and lengthy process. It puts an extreme strain on an applicant and the applicant’s family. Making things worse is the high chance of being denied. Statistically, approximately 70% of all Social Security Disability claims are denied at the initial application stage.
Considering these hurdles, what are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income applicants to do? The answer is to learn everything you can about Social Security Disability applications, how Social Security Disability cases are evaluated, the elements of a successful claim, and how to navigate the appeals process.
By educating yourself about the process you improve your chances of your claim being approved. You can also schedule a free consultation with a disability lawyer to obtain formal legal advice.
Get started here to educate yourself and learn about how to apply for SSDI and/or SSI, how the disability claims process works, who is eligible to receive benefits, and how to appeal a denied claim and navigate the appeal process. The information presented here can help you understand:
- The definition of disability as defined by the Social Security Administration
- Non-medical requirements for Social Security benefits
- How to apply for benefits
- Who decides if you are disabled
- What you can do to improve your claim for benefits
- Things you should never do that could destroy your claim
- Why you should consider hiring a disability attorney to represent you
The Definition of Disability
The Social Security Act defines disabled as “an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
A person is defined as disabled if “his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy in significant numbers.”
As you can see, the Social Security Administration does not recognize partial or short-term disability. Even if you receive other benefits from a governmental agency or a long-term disability insurance policy you could still struggle to receive SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration is not bound by any other agencies’ findings. View our full article for more information on when a person is considered disabled by the SSA.
Do You Meet the Non-Medical Requirements for the Social Security Program?
There must be a financial need for benefits. To meet the non-medical requirements for you must be unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals, whereas federal regulations specify a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals.
You must also have earned at least a minimum number of work credits within the last 5 years. The minimum number of credits needed is based on the age when your disability began. If you have not been employed for at least 5 out of the last 10 years then you are likely not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
How to Apply
You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you think you might be eligible. You can apply online or call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to apply for benefits. You will need the names, phone numbers, and addresses of each of the medical facilities where you have received medical treatment as well as your work history over the past 15 years. Read our full article about how to apply for benefits for more information.
Who Decides If You Are Disabled?
Claims are initially processed through your local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office and State agencies (usually called Disability Determination Services or DDS). An initial application for disability begins with a local Social Security claims representative (also known as disability examiners) at your local office. The examiner will verify non-medical requirements, including age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information.
As long as the claimant meets the SSA’s non-medical requirements, the local office will send the case to Disability Determination Services for evaluation of disability for the second phase of the disability benefits application process. Disability Determination Services is responsible for developing medical evidence and making the initial disability determination on whether a claimant is disabled or blind under Social Security law.
At the hearing stage, an Administrative Law Judge will decide if you are disabled and issue a written decision. The decision will indicate whether it is a fully favorable, partially favorable, or unfavorable decision. Check out our full article about who makes the final decision on Social Security Disability claims.
Improve Your Claim
To win an initial application or appeal, you must be familiar with the symptoms and limitations that the Social Security Administration claims handler wants to see in someone with your medical condition. Experienced Social Security Disability lawyers understand the medical criteria you need to meet to receive benefits.
You or your disability lawyer should also have your doctor complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form that identifies the limitations you have due to your medical condition. Social Security Disability lawyers will often prepare forms that are customized to a claimant’s conditions. Our office has an extensive collection of RFC forms that have been customized for a variety of different medical conditions, and we continue to create new custom forms as needed. Generic examples may be found below:
Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Claim
Nick Ortiz has identified the top mistakes that will destroy your case and compiled these mistakes in the book, Top 10 Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Social Security Disability Claim. You can download the eBook for free on our website.
Should I Consult with Pensacola Disability Lawyers About My Case?
You should schedule a free consultation with at least one Pensacola Social Security Disability attorney. Most reputable attorneys will offer a free consultation, which gives you a chance to discuss your claim with a lawyer at no cost to you. Although you have not yet established an attorney-client relationship, you will be able to get legal advice to help with your initial claim.
Helpful Social Security Disability Pages
- What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
- What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
- How Are SSDI and SSI Different?
- Terms You Should Know: Abbreviations and Acronyms Used by the SSA
- Rules And Requirements to Qualify for SSD
- Starting Your Disability Claim
- Top 10 Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Claim
- Top 4 Reasons You Will Be Denied Disability for Mental Illness
- Insider Tips
- What Are My Chances of Winning My Disability Case?
- How Do I Appeal a Denial of Social Security Benefits?
- What Happens at a Social Security Hearing?
Medical Conditions Covered by Social Security Disability
You can receive Social Security Disability benefits for any severe, medically determinable disease, condition, or impairment that limits your functioning to such an extent that you are not able to work on a full-time, consistent basis.
- Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
- Cardiovascular Impairments
- Digestive System Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Impairments
- Immune Disorders
- Mental Impairment
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (such as back and neck injuries)
- Neurological Conditions
- Respiratory Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Migraine Headaches
Get Help from a Pensacola Social Security Disability Lawyer
Do you need help obtaining the disability benefits you deserve? Nick Ortiz, a Pensacola, FL SSD lawyer, can help you get the benefits you deserve. We handle claims in Northwest Florida, including Cantonment, Crestview, Defuniak Springs, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Niceville, Pace, Panama City, Pensacola, and Perdido Key. As of 2020, we handle claims anywhere in the country.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with an expert disability lawyer then call Ortiz Law Firm at (888) 321-8131 or contact us online. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your claim and represent you before the SSA.